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Reisinger v. Reisinger

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Lorain

June 10, 2019

EDWIN C. REISINGER Appellant
v.
CLAUDIA E. REISINGER (n/k/a/ Simonson), et al. Appellee

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 07DR067915

          BRANDON G. OLIVER, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          JOHN J. GILL, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          LYNNE S. CALLAHAN JUDGE.

         {¶1} Appellant, Edwin Reisinger, appeals an order of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, that found him in contempt and appointed a receiver. This Court affirms in part and reverses in part.

         I.

         {¶2} Mr. Reisinger and Claudia Simonson, f.k.a. Reisinger, divorced in 2008 after twenty-eight years of marriage. The parties' two children were emancipated, and the parties entered into a settlement agreement that resolved all of the issues related to the division of their property and to spousal support. The terms of that agreement, which the trial court incorporated into the divorce decree, required Mr. Reisinger to pay Ms. Simonson the sum of $310, 000 and set forth a payment schedule under which the full amount of the debt would be paid in ten years by means of a series of annual and monthly installments commencing July 1, 2008.

         {¶3} Within four months, Ms. Simonson filed her first of many motions alleging that Mr. Reisinger was in contempt of the divorce decree. For a few years, Mr. Reisinger made inconsistent payments-falling into contempt, then meeting the purge conditions. He made no payments in 2013 or 2014. On November 24, 2014, the parties resolved a pending motion for contempt by memorializing a revised payment plan that the trial court incorporated into a journal entry. At that time, the parties agreed that $217, 300 remained due under the divorce decree.

         {¶4} On October 18, 2017, Ms. Simonson filed another motion for contempt against Mr. Reisinger, arguing that he had failed to make any payment since May 2016 and that the balance remaining under the terms of the settlement memorialized in the divorce decree was $204, 300. Ms. Simonson also moved for the appointment of a receiver to sell a parcel of property that Mr. Reisinger had recently acquired by inheritance ("the inherited property") and to add RCE Farm LLC, an entity solely owned by Mr. Reisinger into which he had transferred title of that property, as a third-party defendant.

         {¶5} The trial court's magistrate issued an "emergency order[]" on October 20, 2017, that purported to join RCE Farm LLC as a party and restrained Mr. Reisinger from selling, alienating, or encumbering the property at issue. That order, which was captioned as a judgment entry rather than a magistrate's order, was signed only by the magistrate. The trial court did not enter judgment joining RCE Farm LLC as a party at that time.

         {¶6} On July 6, 2018, the magistrate issued a decision concluding that Mr. Reisinger was in contempt of the divorce decree and the November 24, 2014, order, recommended a sentence, and set purge conditions for the contempt. The magistrate's order also provided that Ms. Simonson's motion for a receiver was granted and, on the same date, the trial court issued a separate judgment entry appointing the receiver and setting forth the terms of the receivership.[1]

         {¶7} Mr. Reisinger filed objections to the magistrate's decision related to contempt and to the decision granting the motion to appoint the receiver. He also objected to the magistrate's October 20, 2017, entry that purported to join RCE Farm LLC as a party. On November 15, 2018, the trial court overruled each of the objections and entered judgment finding Mr. Reisinger in contempt of the divorce decree and the November 20, 2014, order. The trial court sentenced him to thirty days in jail, but suspended the sentence and provided Mr. Reisinger the opportunity to purge the contempt by "complying with the former payment arrangement and cooperating with the appointed Receiver * * * in relation to the sale of the inherited property. The trial court also restated that the motion for a receiver was granted, referencing the judgment entry of July 6, 2018. The trial court did not order the joinder of RCE Farm LLC in its judgment entry, although it did resolve Mr. Reisinger's objection related to that issue.

         {¶8} Mr. Reisinger appealed the November 15, 2018, judgment. His four assignments of error are ...


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